A federal judge has blocked one of the most restrictive abortion laws in the country, which would have banned almost any abortion in the state of Alabama.
On Tuesday, Judge Myron H. Thomspon of the United States District Court for the Middle District of Alabama issued an injunction against the law, which was slated to go into effect November 15 after being signed into law this past May. Thompson found that a legal challenge to the law is likely to succeed, and ruled that it cannot be enforced while the challenge proceeds.
Since the spring, there have been numerous protests against the law around the nation.
The law would allow for abortion only if the pregnant person's life was at risk, with no exceptions for cases that involve rape or incest. And any doctor who performed the procedure would face 10 years to life in prison.
Other states, including Georgia, Mississippi, and Ohio, are attempting to roll out anti-abortion laws, some known as "heartbeat bills," which would ban abortion if a fetal heartbeat can be detected. Many activists say these laws are part of a larger effort to bring a challenge to the Supreme Court regarding Roe v. Wade, which struck down all state abortion bans.
The suit resulting in today's injunction was mounted by the American Civil Liberties Union and the Planned Parenthood Federation of America on behalf of Yashica Robinson, an ob-gyn in Huntsville, Ala., who provides abortions.
"Abortion remains legal in Alabama," said Randall Marshall, the executive director of the ACLU of Alabama, in a statement following the ruling. "The state's repeated attempts to push abortion out of reach by enacting unconstitutional laws restricting abortions have already cost taxpayers nearly $2.5 million."
"This ill-advised law will cost taxpayers more money," Marshall continued.
Abortion access has and continues to be an issue that affects LGBTQ people around the country, with these laws squarely impacting this community at higher rates.
A 2015 study from researchers at George Mason University found that lesbian, bisexual, and trans high schoolers who are sexually active are twice as likely as their straight and cisgender peers to become pregnant. And a 2017 meta-analysis found that teenage lesbians and bisexual women face higher rates of pregnancy than other groups studies.
Restrictions on abortion clinics in Alabama have already effectively closed many, according to BuzzFeed News. So even with this law being blocked, access to reproductive care remains difficult for anyone living in the state.